Skip to main content

MPAA guilty of illegal copying

Open source fans couldn't possibly have dreamt of such a hilarious situation: the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has admitted to making unauthorised copies of a movie. Just like a common criminal or market DVD flogger, the organisation that leads the crusade for the protection of intellectual property worldwide has been caught with its pants down.

The director of the documentary allegedly copied, “This Film Is Not Yet Rated”, had specifically asked for the movie not to be copied or distributed. The MPAA seemingly ignored this, exhibiting a particular brazen case of double standards.

There’s also a nice little gem from Mark Lemley, professor at Stanford Law School, saying that it might help the MPAA that, should it be prosecuted, it did not sell the copy of the film for financial gain . Does this make P2P distribution legal then? Or what about two friends buying DVDs and sharing it between themselves?

Others are quick to point to the fact that the one to gain the most from this debate is the producer of the documentary himself, Kirby Dick, as the controversy comes just a few days before the start of the US-based Sundance film festival. Free publicity is always welcomed.

At the end of the day, the incident will probably be filed as yet another attempt by the big guns to tell the rest of the world to do as they say, but not as they do.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.